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Horticulturist  What They Do

Just the Facts


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dotHorticulturists help enhance our everyday lives by providing us with healthy, delicious foods. They also create and maintain beautiful, practical landscapes.

Horticulture is the science and art of growing ornamental trees, fruit trees, flowers, vegetables, grasses and bushes.

"Basically, we specialize in the study, growth and maintenance of all the kinds of plant life you might find in a backyard," says horticulturist Leanne Abbot.

dotHorticulture is a broad field. People who graduate with university degrees in horticulture are qualified to do a variety of jobs.

These include food and plant production, marketing, management and sales in the horticulture industry, field inspection and landscaping. They can be arborists or urban foresters. They can also be involved in park management and maintenance.

dotSome horticulturists work in nurseries, greenhouses and garden centers as "retail horticulturists." They cultivate the plants and trees sold and advise customers on plant care and maintenance.

Employment in this career is year-round. Hours vary, depending on the retail employer.

dotAnother specialty for horticulturists is "landscape horticulture." These people design, create and maintain green spaces such as yards, parks and gardens.

Landscapers must have a good eye for designing gardens and a strong back to help them carry out the design. Employment for landscape horticulturists is seasonal, and work usually begins early in the day.

dotHorticulturists also find employment in golf course development and maintenance. These horticulturists must keep the course looking top notch.

That doesn't mean just mowing the lawn. Turf managers must also be knowledgeable about fertilizers, grass varieties, pesticides and groundskeeping techniques.

Whatever the specialty, horticulturists must be able to identify different trees and plants, and be knowledgeable about their care. They need to know how much fertilizer, water and sunshine each plant needs to thrive.

dotMost horticulturists work outdoors. The job will appeal to you if you're well organized, responsible and artistic, and not afraid to get your hands dirty.

Horticulturists are often involved in hands-on, heavy work, such as digging, planting and weeding.

At a Glance

Study all the plant life found in a backyard

  • You can't be afraid to get your hands dirty
  • People who graduate with university degrees in horticulture are qualified to do a variety of jobs
  • Start with a degree in horticulture